#4 Red Dragon Defense Snuffs out #8 Stevens

CORTLAND, N.Y. Fourth-ranked Cortland held eighth-ranked Stevens, the top-scoring team in Div. III, scoreless for almost 35 minutes and went on to a 10-3 win in the second round of the NCAA Div. III playoffs Saturday night at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.

The Red Dragons improved to 16-2 with their 12th consecutive win and advanced to face Tufts in the national quarterfinals. The game is a rematch of the 2010 national semifinal game won by Tufts, 10-9, at Cortland. The Ducks had their season end at 16-3.

Senior Jay DiStefano (Huntington/Harborfields) led the Cortland offense with five goals, and senior Neal Hopps (Akwesasne/Massena) netted a career-best four goals. Junior Greg Wright (Irondequoit/West Irondequoit) scored a goal, and senior Chris DeLuca (Sayville), junior Jack Kennedy (Camillus/West Genesee) and freshman Joe Slavik (Binghamton/Seton Catholic) each contributed an assist. DeLuca also won 9 of 12 faceoffs and collected a game-high seven ground balls, while Kennedy added three caused turnovers. Freshman goalie Scott Tota (Webster/Webster Schroeder) made five saves to run his record to 12-0 on the season.

Senior Brandon Faubert (Virginia Beach, VA/Cape Henry Collegiate) paced the Ducks with one goal and one assist. Senior Chris Laurita (South Brunswick, NJ) and junior Kevin Rose (Garden City) each scored once and junior Alex Hofrichter (Terrance Park, OH/Archbishop Moeller) chipped in with an assist. Junior goalie Eric Yando (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker) made 16 saves in 58:55, and sophomore Connor Nolan (Goffstown, NH) did not make a save in 1:05. Junior Matt Marks (Cortland) recorded six ground balls and three caused turnovers.

DiStefano gave Cortland the lead just 1:12 into the game, and the score remained 1-0 until late in the opening quarter when Hopps scored his first of the night. Rose cut the lead to 2-1 at 3:04, but Hopps made it 3-1 with a goal 20 seconds before the end of the quarter. Faubert then won the ensuing faceoff and scored unassisted eight seconds later and Cortland held a 3-2 lead after 15 minutes.

The Red Dragons increased their lead to 6-2 at the half, blanking the Ducks in the second quarter. DiStefano netted a man-up goal at 5:45 and then Hopps and DiStefano scored at 41 and 12 seconds, respectively, to carry the momentum into the break

DiStefano was the only player to find the back of the net in the third quarter, scoring his third of the game just eight seconds into the stanza after a DeLuca face-off win and adding his fourth at the 1:16 mark to put Cortland ahead 8-2 through 45 minutes.

Laurita eventually broke the Ducks' scoring slump with a man-up goal at 10:21 of the fourth, but Stevens would not score again. DiStefano tallied his fifth at 7:56 and Hopps capped the scoring with his fourth at 4:02 while all alone in front for the 10-3 final.

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CORTLAND, N.Y. (May 14, 2011) Despite a superb 16-save effort from junior goalie Eric Yando (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), eighth-ranked Stevens fell to No. 4 Cortland, 10-3, in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse Championship on Saturday night at the Cortland Stadium Complex.

Stevens ends a phenomenal 2011 season with an overall record of 16-3 which is tied for the most wins in program history. Cortland, who was led by five goals from senior Jay DiStefano (Huntington, N.Y.), will advance to the quarterfinals of the national tournament against defending champion Tufts University on Wednesday.

The Red Dragons possessed the ball for nearly the entire first quarter but the Stevens defense hung tough to keep the team in the game. DiStefano put Cortland on top 1-0 1:12 into the action after the Red Dragons won the game's opening face-off. Cortland made it a two-goal game with a score from senior midfielder Neal Hopps (Akwesasne, N.Y.), but the Ducks made the most of their late chances with two of the opening period's final three markers.

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2011-05-14



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